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Pistol casebearer

Coleophora malivorella Riley
Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae

Adult is dark gray with fringed wings. The pistol casebearer appears similar to a cigar casebearer: a small, yellowish larva with a black head that builds and hides in a shelter. However, the pistol casebearer’s case is curled at the end, resembling a pistol handle (A). Both casebearers carry their case while feeding or attach to leaves and branches of apple trees.


Most fruit-growing states and provinces in eastern North America.


Attacks apple mainly, also pear and quince. Pistol casebearer larvae attack the expanding buds and later the flowers and foliage, which may be either eaten entirely or skeletonized, in the case of leaves.


This insect causes little damage, and tolerance is probably more economical than intervention. Economic infestations can be controlled by the use of selective (e.g., Bacillus thuringiensis) or broad-spectrum insecticides.

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